Books are an excellent way to spread a message. Unlike other mediums (such as film and radio), reading allows the audience to take more time with a given message, to think about it, to examine it, all while taking it in. Reading words, rather than hearing them, can often inspire people to consider them to a greater extent, since reading requires active participation.
Celebrities have the fortune of being able to reach mass audiences, to spread messages across a wider public than many people ever have the opportunity to. So it’s no surprise so many have chosen to express thoughts and ideas that they consider important through the magic of book publishing. And who better to reach than children and families?
Here are 7 celeb parents who have taken advantage of just this, allowing their beautiful and thoughtful words to resonate throughout a whole new generation by writing children’s books with positive messages.
In the year following the birth of Will’s third and youngest child, Willow, the actor published a book entitled Just the Two of Us.The 32 page picture book adapts the lyrics of his 1998 hit song of the same title. The song, released as the fourth single of his solo album, Big Willie Style, repositions the classic love song to describe instead the relationship between a father and son. The music video features Will playing with his first son, Trey who was 6 at the time, and his second wife Jada Pinkett Smith while pregnant with what would be their first child together, Jaden.
The book uses the lyrics to follow the stages of a father/son relationship, and is illustrated by Kadir Nelson. It is available on Amazon.
HOLLY ROBINSON PEETE
In 2010, Holly collaborated with her daughter Ryan Elizabeth to write a book entitled, My Brother Charlie. The book is inspired by Ryan Elizabeth’s twin brother, Charlie, who is living with autism. Through his sister’s voice, Charlie’s story and others like it are told. The book explains that while Charlie may be different, and may have a difficult time making friends or expressing himself, there are plenty of things he can do, and does do well. Essentially, the book is about learning, and understanding. Holly has been a national spokesperson for autism since her son’s diagnosis in 2000. She and her husband, Rodney Peete, have participated in many charities for the cause and established the HollyRod Foundation to further their efforts.
The book is available on Amazon.
Last summer, actress Garcelle Beauvais published a book meant to help children understand racial diversity. According to BET, I Am Mixed is based on her own set of twin boys; in the book, siblings Nia and Jay learn to celebrate their mixed heritages. The book also addresses the questions that children of mixed races are often confronted with on the playground, which can be awkward and uncomfortable at times. Garcelle’s book is also based on her own experiences, as she has spoken about the challenges she faced being the only black student in her school when her family arrived from Haiti.
The book is reported to be the first in Beauvais’s I Am series. It is available on Amazon.
After the birth of his son in 2009, Taye published a children’s book alongside his longtime friend Shane W. Evans. The actors had been wanting to collaborate on a book about embracing your difference for some years, and having children made the timing impeccable. In Chocolate Me!, we follow a young boy who is teased at school for having dark skin and curly hair. When he tells his mother of his wish to be more like the other kids, she helps him to see what makes him beautiful, and special.
The book is available through Taye and Shane’s official Chocolate Me Too website, along with T-shirts for adults and kids alike.
On his 2009 Grammy-Winning album, Family Time, Ziggy released a song entitled “I Love You Too”. As he explains on his official website, the song was written when his daughter said to him spontaneously one day, “I love you”, and he responded, “I love you too.” The book was written so that parents could share those words with their children each time they read it. It features a multicultural cast of characters – children and their parents – sharing moments of togetherness both in the home and out. It is available through Barnes&Nobel.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
In Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters, President Barrack Obama thoughtfully writes of how he sees the beautiful traits of many American heroes within his own daughters, Malia and Natasha, and all the children of the nation. From Jackie Robinson, to George Washington, all of the Greats are honored in this inspiring tribute. The book encourages the nation’s children to reach their potential, to shine, and to be the best they can be.
Of Thee I Sing was published in 2010. The heart-warming and beautifully illustrated book is available on Amazon.
In 2012 Amar’e announced his intention to write a book series for middle-school aged children in participation with Scholastic. The books are part of the NBA star’s efforts to promote child literacy, which is the platform of the Amar’e Stoudemire Foundation. The series is entitled STAT (Standing Tall and Talented), and follows the adventures of a 6’11 boy and his love of sports, based of course on the personal experiences of Amar’e himself. They also encourage children to take pride in working hard, and other positive messages.
So far, there are 3 books available. They can be found on Amazon.